Ongoing reputational scandals around data usage, privacy and transparency have impacted Facebook, Google and Apple brand trust measures globally, how do Australians feel about this issue?

Brand trust is becoming a bigger issue for the large tech players with latest research showing they are not immune to reputational damage from the issues of data protection and usage which is now impacting usage and prompting regulators to adopt a more punitive approach.

This situation poses an interesting question; ‘What has been the impact on brand trust for the big three and do people really care?’ We set out to explore this issue with the help of Adoreboard an Emotion AI company that unites customer and employee experience through its Human Experience (HX) measurement platform Emotics.

The Adoreboard research examined emotive insights from 170,000 social media mentions identifying insights into privacy issues drilling down into the emotion Trust and its negative counterpart Disgust showing in Figure 1 how Aussies rank in comparison to a global view.

Not surprisingly Facebook ranked lowest at -37 as seen in Figure 1; Global Overall vs Australia -Trust as no doubt the impact of the Cambridge Analytical data breach and resulting record Federal Trade Commission $5 USD billion fine and impacted brand trust. 

“People are becoming more and more sceptical of handing their data over to large companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google. The analysis shows that a lot of trust has been lost due to privacy concerns and bad press. Companies should keep as transparent as possible in order to turn this around and improve the overall Human Experience of the company,” says Chris Johnson, Founder of Adoreboard. 

Interestingly, a study from Ponemon Institute conducted in conjunction with the Financial Times showed a massive decline in Facebook brand trust after the Cambridge Analytical story broke in March 2018. The research showed pre-crisis levels of brand trust on the question; ‘Facebook is committed to protecting my data’ at 80 per cent pre-crisis crashing to 29 per cent just two weeks later. 

The latest Deloitte Australian Privacy Index shows 89 per cent respondents denied location access to mobile apps, 63 per cent deleted apps due to privacy concerns and a whopping 46 per cent (including yours truly) could deliberately provide incorrect information. In the US the Pew Centre for Research report conducted in May/June 2019 showed 44 per cent of 18-29yrs deleted Facebook app in past 12 months.

“It’s a real contradiction,” says respected social researcher Rebecca Huntley, Principal, Vox Populi Research. “In some ways people are frustrated and react negatively to ad targeting but in other ways they have become immune to it and while they’re concerned about privacy they realise it’s a value exchange.”

Global transparency versus Australia transparency

The Adoreboard research found Aussies are not as harsh as global respondents with higher Adorescores and less negativity index scores in the context of data transparency issues. 

In summary the report shows Facebook ranks worst followed by Google with Apple on top.

In Australia and globally in terms of trust-related issues, regardless perceptions are for the most largely negative for the big 3.


Users expressed a lack of trust in Google online including impact on Australian elections;


FaceApp challenges being shared on Facebook allowed many to highlight privacy and data protection issues as many express apprehension about Facebook’s role.

  •  “I realize that I have consciously started using @google as a login for other sites rather than @facebook — they’re both taking my data, especially now that I have a google-backed smart home system. But I don’t trust Facebook. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Good Zucking job”

When looking at Australian’s views on the trustworthiness of Facebook compared to global mentions, Australians express less emotion, with lower levels of joy, trust, disgust and anger being expressed.  Higher levels of interest were however noted.


Apple claims to “build iPhone with your privacy in mind. Life’s easier when you switch to iPhone”.  The announcement of new privacy updates has increased the level of trust felt towards the brand.


It’s not a great scorecard for the big three in terms of brand trust reinforcing they need to work harder at managing brand reputation specifically around data usage, privacy and transparency. My report card ranking for the big three;

Apple is A- 

With an Adorescore of -15 they are continually tuned into the complexity of the issues and very responsive both as industry leader and on a company, level also ranking highly on the Joy readings in Figure 1.

Google it’s a B 

With an Adorescore of -29 whilst they are trying to be responsive the recent FTC fine around data usage for targeting of ads to children on YouTube shows they have a way to go to get on the front foot, on a company level they ranked highest for Anger measures as shown in Figure 1, but they are trying and do respond quickly.

Facebook is D 

With an Adorescore of -32 as they repeatedly fail to grasp the basics of brand reputation management by remaining aloof and disconnected as shown by recent no shows of Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg at numerous regulatory panels in Europe and Canada. In fairness they do signal change and need for change but they would go a long way by learning and applying some principles from the FMCG brand reputational crisis management playbook. 

It’s apparent after 10+ years of unbridled and un-regulated growth they have all built highly complex mega legacy platforms with not enough regard for the importance of data stewardship. So they are now faced with the unenviable task of remediation across so many fronts that they are clearly unable to keep pace with user and regulatory expectations and demands.

Latest research from datazu ‘Outside the Box – The new TV is everywhere’ study published in WARC is startling showing Aussie’s willingness to share anonymised data for personalised ads/offers at only 13 per cent for ‘yes completely’ with 30 per cent at ‘yes somewhat’.

Perhaps the last word is best left to one time Mark Zuckerberg mentor Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, the leading US based private equity firm that specialises in technology company asset management; “The most effective path to reform would be to shut down the platforms. The platforms have left you no choice, the time has come to call their bluff.” 

If you would like to know more about Adoreboard;

Adoreboard is an Emotion AI company that unites customer and employee experience through its Human Experience (HX) measurement platform Emotics. 

Emotics measures emotion intensity, through measuring emotion intensity you can pinpoint specific issues that trigger high or low-intensity emotions. This provides us with a new lens enabling us to understand how people feel. Adoreboard’s Emotics solution can understand how emotions are expressed in any text contained in product reviews, surveys, social media posts or online comments by customers. This opens up new possibilities for customer experience professionals to improve the customer journey by making changes that can be prioritized by the strength of emotional response.


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